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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Boat Transporter Selected

A chariot to carry Ariel, our Gemini 3200, from Atlanta GA to Savannah GA has been selected! The company's name is First Choice, and it is run by Ken Andrews. His transportation business is out of North Carolina and he has been transporting boats all over the south east for more than 20 years. We found Ken when we starting calling the transporters recommended by our destination marina Sail Harbor Marina.

To pick whom would carry our baby, we created a list of attributes that we would want the transporter to posses. Using this list, it allowed me to discern within minutes of talking to the transporter whether they were a contender or not. While all of the transporters we contacted were professional, it was clear that some just didn't know their own systems as well as others. For example, some said that they would have to go out and measure their trailer, while others said they were not quite sure of clearance requirements along the way. Those that "knew" their stuff were easy to pick out.

After contacting First Choice, and talking with Ken, I knew that we had found our transporter. Once Ken had received the particulars of our boat and locations, he immediately began demonstrating his knowledge of both marinas and the route. He knew clearances, he knew the personalities at the marinas at both ends, he knew our type of boat, and more. After talking a little more, Ken gave me a price. This price he said was not an estimate, but the final cost.

I asked how he could give me a final price before shipping was completed, while others simply gave ballparks or were sure to emphasize that the prices were estimates. His reply was that he had been transporting for so long that he had all of his rates down. He knew the route, the boat, the source and destination marina, and how much per mile it cost him.

I inquired about insurance to cover the boat. We didn't just want cargo insurance, the type most transporters have where you only get so much per pound. He said that his insurance covered up to $250,000 on damage or loss of the boat and that this insurance was included in the price. Just when I thought the call was done, Ken offered up some tips regarding the marinas that would save us money and aid in the shipping process. All I thought was... WOW! He doesn't have our business yet and he is sharing with me information none of the other 20 some odd carriers could or would.

Nothing boost a customer's confidence in a provider like a demonstration of knowledge. We had driven the route that the boat would take. We also talked at length with each marina's owners/managers. Ken clearly showed he had knowledge of the particulars that only first hand knowledge would provide in the route and the marinas. This, coupled with his extra info that saved us money, made him an easy choice. Plus, he is a nice guy.

We know that First Choice-Ken will take great care of Ariel. This is our home, our family member. We've bonded with Ariel personally. We want to be sure we put her in the most capable, competent hands we can find. We believe we've done that.

Ken isn't on the Internet, he is only found via word of mouth and by marina's who use him. So, if you are moving your boat in the South East, be sure to ask your marina if they use First Choice and Ken.

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